Monday, June 30, 2014

Nya's Ambulance Ride

Saturday night around 9 pm we had just finished photographing a wedding and I was working in the office.  I heard some strange sounds coming from the monitor in Nya's room.  I asked Gary to go up and check as it sounded like a mix between coughing and choking.  Gary went up and within a minute, I could hear that she was getting worse.  I went up there and he had her lying on his arm and was trying to clear her airway by hitting her back.  It wasn't helping.  I can't even tell you the sound except she was struggling and panicky.  I asked Gary if I should call 911 as I felt that if it got this bad this quickly, it could get even worse.  Gary is usually my `Mr. Calm Pants And Everything Is Always Fine', but he agreed, so I did.  I have never considered calling 911 for anything so I think at the moment I just really felt something was wrong.  The alternative of me driving a toddler who couldn't breathe properly, in our van, was not something I wanted to do.

The ambulance came 5 minutes later and by then her breathing improved with just rattling.  It really sounded to me like something was lodged in there and I was especially concerned because she hadn't even being coughing previous to this. I felt a bit silly because she had calmed down but they assured me it was the right thing to do.  They checked her over and thought that based on her current state that I should go with them to the hospital in the ambulance.

They had a carseat buckle for her in the bed and she was strapped in. She hated it. Usually I can keep her calm but with what the last 10 minutes was like for her, the discomfort she was in,  and now being strapped into a strange vehicle, she was not happy.  `I scared! I scared! I hurt! I hurt!'.  I was able to calm her down a bit by looking at picture of the boys on my phone and singing `Happy Birthday' in her ear.

After waiting in a room in the ER and seeing several nurses,  we saw the doctor and he checked her over.  He said it sounded like stridor breathing and recommended a chest xray to rule out anything lodged in her respiratory system.  I agreed even though I hate the idea of radiating my baby girl.   

If you know what a chest xray is like for them, you know it's not fun.  They sit into a type of bike seat, you hold their arms straight above their head and then they wrap a clear encasement around their torso.  Nya kept saying `I stuck!'.  We counted to 10 and then they did it one more time.  Poor girl.  I thought she did so well.  I just kept saying that it was a silly machine in hopes that she wouldn't be traumatized.

Then we went back to the ER and the results showed no foreign objects (phew!) and that it was likely a viral infection.   He did a throat swab and then she was given two different meds to open up her airways and alleviate the pain and we were allowed to leave.  The doctor was very nice and understanding.  I don't know why I have such a fear of wasting people's time or overreacting but I do. 

Fortunately my friend Leah has a fun social life and was out late and could stop by our house to pick up our car (with carseat) to come get us.  So frustrating that my phone and internet did not work in the ER.  Thanks, Leah!

Never thought my first ambulance visit would be with Nya.  Thankfully she's okay and it wasn't too serious.  I wasn't too worried once the ambulance came because we were in safe hands and she never turned blue.  Last night we slept with the monitor in our bedroom just in case.

PS: I had a package of mini bubbles in my purse.  Totally recommend it.  What else can you do for hours in the ER in the middle of the night?  

PS again: Gary does the wedding receptions on his own and usually isn't home until at least 10 pm but Saturday it finished earlier so he was actually home when it happened. So glad. 

{Here she is at the end of our stay; happy Nya with the Telus bear she got in the ambulance.  The rest of the time there was not so happy, although, she was singing `Dora' on the way home at 1am.}

Hope your weekend was a healthier adrenaline filled one!
Love, Louise

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Wow, Thankful Thursday time already!

Thankful for:

1. A great pediatric emergency room to visit.  I know that sounds weird but it went well. I've never been to the new Surrey one but Nya had her first visit this week.  She woke up in pain 5am on Wednesday morning and was unable to open her eye.  It was very, very swollen.  I was pretty sure it was pink eye but had never seen so much swelling with that so I was concerned there could be something in there.  We were in and out within 1.5 hours and she was a rockstar.  So thankful for our medical system.  Awesome nurses and doctors there.


2. Antibiotic ointment.  She has an infection in both eyes but 24 hours later is looking so much better.  Unlike the boys, she is completely fine with me putting ointment into her eyes and actually asks for more.

3.  Free Family Fun.  We went to the Nature Center this week and then on Wednesday evening I took the boys to the Willoughby Fire Hall for their Open House.  Leo the Lion was there (from the BC Lions) and Kai was super excited about that.  Koen got to use the fire hose, we saw the `Jaws of Life' in action, AND we got to go in a smoke simulation room which was pretty cool/interesting.


4.  Nya developing friendships.  Her closest friends are her little cousins and then some kids from church.  Lauren is Lynette's daughter and these two are starting to play together a bit more.  Hopefully Nya didn't give her pink eye!


5.  An awesome teacher for Kai Bear.  We love Mrs. B and I'm so thankful that she taught Kai.  I think she understands him so well and did a fabulous job at encouraging him to grow in all areas of his life; academically, spiritually, socially etc.


6. A sister on maternity leave!  We went to Redwood Park for a walk last week with the kids.  This means that my newest niece or nephew is almost here.   I have 16 nieces and nephews so far.


7.  Warmer weather which means more bottles to collect :)  I can't believe people litter so much but their naughtiness is our gain.  I'm trying to think of another fundraiser that the boys can do to make more money...having a lemonade stand? Ice cream stand?


8.  Hockey, hockey, hockey.  I love that Kai runs around with the neighbour boys for 1-2 hours a day playing sports.  We can now let them do their thing and they can work things out on their own without us around.


9.  A new fan for our office.  We do have an air conditioner that we put in the main part of our house but our office is separate.  We picked it up from Costco and it works so well!


10.  Family bike rides.  We can all bike now with Nya being in the carrier behind me.  So excited for camping with our bikes this year!


11. A bonus one: A child that likes to colour!!  Hours of colouring on her own = awesomeness.  I just have such great memories of it when I was a kid and it's a fabulous way to keep her busy when I'm making dinner. The boys have probably asked to colour once in their lives (not kidding) and she asks multiple times each day.  She is now obsessed with colouring pictures of Dora.


I hope you are having an awesome week!  I probably won't be back here until after the weekend as we are photographing a wedding again.  Any fun plans for you?

Love, Louise

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Exploring the Surrey Nature Center

One of my favourite things about the summer is exploring new places right around us.  We heard about the Surrey Nature Center a few months ago and because Gary got off work early today, we decided that today was the day we would visit it!

Who wants to visit the Surrey Nature Center?! Nya does!

It's part of Green Timbers Park which we have been to several times but we had never been to this section of it before.  It was a little tricky to find but it's right across the street from the huge RCMP headquarters on Green Timbers Way off of 96th.  It's open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30-4:30pm.

Right away we noticed some very cool trees like this one next to the parking lot.  This is a Camperdown Elm (umbrella elm) which the kids ran into/under immediately.

We went into the building and there we learned that you could choose from 4 different activity backpacks if you wanted to; birding, forest animals, trees, or forts.  Of course the boys chose to build a fort in the forest.

Koen carried the backpack with all of the supplies that we would need. 

Another very cool option that they have is to borrow a fishing rod and tackle!  It's free for up to 7 days, you just need to leave a credit card.  We went late in the day so they were all taken out but we will definitely return to do a little fishing in the lake there!  *Kids under the age of 15 do not need a fishing license and can get up to 2 fish*

We walked to the pole forest section and fortunately it was already half made for us.

The kids made something that I would never want to sleep in but it makes me excited for camping!

Then we decided to explore a little.  There is a nice big hill and a ridge on top so we climbed it.

At the top is a little trail with a lot of flowers...

and a whole lot of grasshoppers (could not get a picture of those guys!).  I think they were short winged toothpick grasshoppers to be exact.  The kids did the loop up the hill, along the ridge, and down, three times in a row and would've kept going if we didn't encourage them to move on.

Then we went back into the forest.  A lot of trees are labelled and I kept thinking it could be fun for a Biology 11 class.  Koen was excited to climb a tree and it was very evident that my city kids really lack tree climbing skills.  When I was a kid....

In the forest, there is also an old concrete stucture which could be cool for a future photo shoot.

Ah, a moment of sweetness amongst the many moments of fighting.

Then we went to walk towards the Inaugural Forest (birthplace of reforestation in BC!) and Lehman Grove.

It's about a 20 minute walk to the lake and we didn't go all the way because we'll do it next time when we pick up fishing rods.  Also, Miss Nya was getting a tad tired from all the running around.

Instead, we picked salmon berries and huckleberries while running through the beautiful trails.

I love discovering new places in our `backyard' (okay, twenty minutes away).  We will definitely return! 

Thank you to my friend Alaina for letting me know about this little hidden gem.  While there, we picked up a couple of brochures and now we have a whole list of nature trails in Surrey to try out.  Yay for summer!

I hope you are having a great week.

Love, Louise

Monday, June 23, 2014

Five Enjoyable Walks in Surrey & Langley

Summer is here and we love being outside and exploring. Getting our kids to burn off a lot of energy is key for fewer fights, meltdowns, and the dreaded "I'm bored" which so far has only been uttered by our seven-year-old. Having three younger kids, these are some of our favourite walks to do as a family. They are all stroller-friendly and relatively flat. I always like discovering new places so if you haven't checked them out, you might want to!

1.Campbell Valley Park. The north entrance at 200th and 16th has a great loop that takes us just under an hour to do.You can bring bird seed and feed a bird or two as long as you get there early enough and they're not full of seeds already! It is very flat and easy to do. Only outhouses available.

Campbell Valley Park in Langley, BC

Campbell Valley Park in Langley, BC

2. Redwood Park at 180th and 20th. There is a great playground there and you can do a 15-20 minute `Fun Family Loop'. There is a treehouse and also some fairy doors that you can search for and entire Fairy Village!  It's a beautiful location for photos in the fall with all of the fall leaves. They also have large covered picnic tables and flush toilets (with a baby change table too!). Oh yes, and a water fountain that every single kid loves.

Redwood Park in Surrey, BC

Redwood Park in Surrey, BC

Fairy Village Redwood Park Surrey BC

3. Tynehead Park on 172nd and 96th.  It has a paved 4.8 km loop that our kids like to bike. It does have some hills and takes about an hour to walk. If you would prefer something more picturesque and in the woods, you can walk at the hatchery entrance  (16485 96th Ave).

Tynehead Park Surrey BC

4.  Sendall Gardens on 201st and 50th. There isn't a lot of walking to be done here but the kids love to run around and play with the giant water fountain. It's also very picturesque and we did some of Nya's 2 year old photos here.

Sendall Gardens Langley BC

5. Brae Island at the end of Glover Road (in Fort Langley) and just over the bridge past the Fort Pub. There's a beach there along the Fraser River and also some walking trails. Here is the link to the map. We've gone geocaching there as well. PS If you've never biked the Fort to Fort trail that is close by and recommended too!

Brae Island Langley BC

We love being outside. The kids behave better and it's free. I know that there are many more parks to explore in the area, but these are just some of the regular ones that we enjoy. We're going to be heading to Williams Park this week which I know they'll enjoy. Playground + trails + stream. I should definitely add that a bonus #6. 

Williams Park, Surrey BC

Since this was written I would definitely add Surrey Bend Regional Park and the Houston Trail.

Do you have a favourite walk in this area that you would want to add?  


Looking for a beautiful place to explore in Surrey and Langley, BC? These are great family-friendly walks that will immerse you in nature!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Only 19% of British Columbians...

have signed up to be organ donors.  That was the statistic in April 2014 and I'm not sure how much it's changed.

My friend George (who is my best friend Lynette's younger brother) was born with Cystic Fibrosis and received a double lung transplant in 2010 when he had maybe 4 months left to live and it has changed his life.  He still has CF but it is no longer affects his lungs.  Tomorrow he starting to bike from Surrey, BC to Banff, AB (taking just 9 days!!) with GearUp4CF to raise awareness and funds for CF.  I checked out his personal fundraising page and he has raised over $14,000!

{George with his wife Kim}

You can see an interview with him here that took place last year before doing GearUp4CF ride for the first time.  The interview shows the journey of his lung transplant and he is such a great advocate for organ donation.  You can see another 2 minute interview with Global here.  If you want to follow his blog, click here as he plans to update along the way.  So many links, I know.

Go George Go!  And....if you aren't signed up yet to be an organ donor, you can do it here :)  If you're not sure if you are a donor or not, you can verify it there too.

Have a great weekend.


Koen the Preschool Graduate

We had Koen's preschool graduation this week.  He has gone to the same preschool and had the same teachers for two years.   I'm very thankful for these lovely ladies and how they just `get' Koen.

Grandma and Grandpa (Gary's parents) came to the graduation which was really nice.  Nya loves her grandparents!

They asked each child what they would like to be when they grow up and Koen said `How can I know if I'm still little?  I'll be a dad, obviously, and then maybe a teacher.'.

We are veeeeery much looking forward to Koen going to kindergarten.   He is a January 2 baby so he has been ready for a while and so have we.  Academically I think that he is definitely ready for school as he's started reading and like his big brother, he is very interested in math.  We do our `school pages' at home but he definitely needs more.  

Nya is...independent.  Everything is `I do it' and `Go away mommy, I want pibacy (privacy)'.   I have definitely learned to pick my battles and although it may look like she's the boss at times, the only things I feel really need to be `battled out' right now are issues of safety and respect.  She is starting to use much larger sentences and it is pretty cool.  I love that she can communicate most of her thoughts to us.  Here are some cute pictures of her jumping around with Koen.

{Her eyes!!! Awesome, right?}

Oh man, these two test my patience daily.  Walking with them to the park can be excruciating.  Trying to encourage Koen to get dressed in the morning is a full time job (he get sooo distracted).  The steal each other's toys to make the other person scream.  But, there are many good things in there too and seriously, they're pretty adorable.

Love, Louise